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Japan changes tack, plans to adopt G7 numerical targets in plastic resources reduction strategy

  • August 21, 2018
  • , Sankei , Lead story
  • JMH Translation

The Environment Ministry has decided to include the numerical targets cited in the “Ocean Plastics Charter” adopted at the G7 Summit last June in the “plastic resources recycle strategy” it is formulating to prevent the proliferation of marine plastic waste, sources informed Sankei on Aug. 20.  The government refrained from signing the charter at the G7 Summit, but has now decided to shift to a policy of international cooperation with the advanced nations in light of the growing problem of plastic waste.


The G7 Charter sets certain targets with a timetable, such as “recycle and reuse at least 55% of plastic packaging by 2030 and recover 100% of all plastics by 2040.” Japan did not sign the document, based on the judgment that the impact on the people’s lives and the economy needs to be studied carefully. It also thought that efforts will need to be made as well by countries other than the advanced nations.


The government has now decided to accept the direction set by the charter because it does not want to be seen as being negative toward taking reduction measures. Another major factor is the fact that China, where Japan exports most of its plastic waste, is now imposing import restrictions, so Japan is finding it increasingly difficult to dispose of its plastics.


So the plastic resources recycle strategy is very likely to adopt the numerical targets of the G7 Charter. This strategy will be finalized before the G20 Summit to be held in Osaka City in June 2019.


It was also learned that Japan plans to propose the “establishment of a global monitoring and research network” at the G20 Summit next year in order to strengthen international cooperation in sync with reduction efforts in Japan. (Abridged)

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